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Former Packers DC Mike Pettine hired by rival Bears as senior defensive assistant

Mike Pettine's unemployment lasted less than a month, and he didn't even have to change divisions.

The recently departed Packers defensive coordinator is joining the rival Chicago Bears as a senior defensive assistant, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. Pettine will work alongside new Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai in Chicago. The Bears later announced the hiring.

Pettine parted ways with the Packers at the end of the 2020 postseason, with Green Bay electing to not renew his contract. Pettine's defenses became a point of conflict among those following the Packers, and his miscues rose to the forefront in the NFC Championship Game, when an ill-fated play-call resulted in a Tampa Bay touchdown just before the half that ended up serving as the difference in the 31-25 final. Packers coach Matt LaFleur didn't shy from criticizing Pettine's decision afterward, making their eventual split foreseeable.

Pettine has coached in a variety of roles in the NFL since 2002, rising as high as head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 2014 to 2015 before he ended up with the Packers as defensive coordinator in 2018. He survived the firing of Mike McCarthy to stay around under LaFleur.

Pettine's defense finished ninth in yards allowed per game, but tied for 13th in rushing yards allowed per game, and finished 21st in rushing yards allowed per play in 2020. Those numbers were improvements, as Pettine's group jumped from 18th, 23rd and 24th in 2019 in those respective categories from the previous season, but the Packers worsened on the scoreboard, ranking 14th in points allowed per game in 2020 after finishing ninth in that department in 2019.

In all, it wasn't enough to keep Pettine around. He'll turn his efforts toward helping the Bears improve a defense that was statistically worse than Green Bay in 2020, but has the personnel for a relative improvement with better direction in 2021.

In addition to announcing the hiring of Pettine, the Bears also announced the promotion of Mike Snyder from offensive quality control coach to the same title plus assistant quarterbacks coach and Henry Burris from Bill Walsh Coaching Fellow to offensive quality control coach.

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